When I was younger, I thought I wanted sweeping, romantic gestures. I remember being envious of all the over-the-top romantic situations my friends experienced and shared online. But then I realized that wasn’t what mattered.
Last winter I had my wisdom teeth removed. Due to a miscommunication with the doctor, I was not given anesthesia and was awake for the procedure. I can handle anything but dental work and was understandably traumatized. I was miserable afterwards. I couldn’t sleep comfortably and decided to stay on the couch all night. And J took the other couch. He refused to leave me the entire night. That’s romance.
I’m not saying that romance means your relationship is bound to fail: we need it! We’re all deserving of a break from the mundane. You can only eat dinner braless and in a ratty t-shirt silently in front of Seinfeld so many times. I’m simply saying that it isn’t the only thing that matters. There will be times when you’re both tired and stressed. There will be times when one or both of you have the flu. There might be times when you’re stuck in the house for 3 days during a snowstorm with no internet (we barely survived). You’ll be overworked and exhausted and could spend three weekends in a row passing out to Netflix at 9:30. You will go through trials and tribulations and struggle through the loss of loved ones and times where money is tight and you’re praying you can stretch the contents of your pantry until pay day. You may be hit with unimaginable tragedy or sickness. And those are the moments that matter. You should never choose someone because they want to sweep you off your feet. You should choose a partner. You should choose someone because they’re there. Every day. Even on the days when you feel you’re not deserving of their love.
I think social media has changed how we view relationships, in that things what used to be private moments are now displayed for the entire world to see. We share photos of gifts and flowers and extravagant date nights. I am guilty, too. And that makes it easy to feel jealousy and that another couple might have a better connection than you. The reality is there ARE good moments. But there’s also moments of fighting, disappointment, and hurt. Someone didn’t help with laundry or unload the dishwasher. Someone forgot an important anniversary. Someone feels unappreciated. I get it- we WANT to see and share that highlight reel. Who needs an Instagram picture of the chores your significant other neglected to accomplish?
I don’t like to offer relationship advice. All of our journeys are different. What do I know? We are far from perfect. We fight. We sulk. We screw up. We’re human. But one of the things that’s made us stronger as a couple is that we don’t romanticize the other. And, after 8 years together, I’ve realized not every moment is going to Facebook-worthy.
What’s the point of this post? Mainly it’s been on my mind lately. And it’s that I hope we don’t lose sight of what’s important when it comes to choosing and sticking with our significant other. Sign off your social media accounts every now and then and be intentional with your time. Comparison is the thief of joy. And remember that not every relationship will end happily… and that’s okay. Don’t stay with someone if you’re unhappy- even if you threw the most Pinterest-y wedding of all time. And, if you’re single, I hope you keep these things in mind. Look for a partner. Anyone can send you flowers. You need someone who sticks around during the worst of times.